All Things Kenyan

Chapati Recipe

Chapati is an unleavened (no yeast or baking powder) flat bread and a staple food among the Swahili speaking people of East Africa. Chapati is normally served with other foods like sukuma wiki (a vegetable dish) and other vegetables. Tear off pieces of a chapati and use it to pick up other foods. Chapati is a bread and a utensil.

Chapati travels well once it is cooled. I brought some chapatis I made when I was traveling in Kenya. Another Peace Corps volunteer saw my chapatis and thought I bought them from a street vendor! I made chapatis all the time and they had become very authentic in the process.


2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredients well. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the flour mixture and mix in with your hands until flour feels a little bit like sand. Add enough water to form an elastic dough.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out 1 ball into a circle and spread 1/2 teaspoon oil over it. Roll the circle up, like a jelly roll, then roll it up again. It should resemble a snail shell.

Do the same for the other three balls.

Let the dough sit 20 minutes to 8 hours, depending on when you make them.

Roll out into circles 10 to 12 inches in diameter.

Melt a bit of shortening in a frying pan (I prefer a cast iron pan) and wait until it is hot to cook the chapati.

Cook rapidly and watch them bubble up.

Makes 4 chapatis.


* Spread some butter or margarine on the warm chapati and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on it for breakfast.

Healthy Substitutions and Variations:

* Use 1/2 white flour and 1/2 wheat flour or all wheat flour to make a healthier chapati.
* Substitute 1/4 cup teff flour for 1/4 cup wheat flour to add more fiber to the chapatis.
* Skip the oil used when rolling up the chapatis.
* Cook the chapatis on a dry skillet or frying pan.


7 thoughts on “Chapati Recipe

  1. Pingback: Easy Curry Recipe – All Things Kenyan

  2. Jeanne Post author

    Previous Comments From Old ATK Site:

    winnie said: i thought i could make chapatis but this made me rethink. cinnamon’s great on chapos

    cynthia said: thanks alot

    Samuel said: Was a little homesick. This has helped, tons! Thanks!!!

    Anonymous said: Brilliant recipe! Didn’t know making chapati was so easy! Next up samosa

    Unknown said: I make this for dinner with beans and my family love,love, loves it !!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

    Anonymous said: Mimi nina penda chapati sana
    (I <3 chapati a lot)>

    Betty said: A little sugar in the recipe does wonders try that.

    Anonymous said: Why wait 20min to an hour

    Anonymous said: this is amazing!!!

    Milly said: You are great yu’ve helped me alot

    dorry said: The best I followed the instructions and my family loves it. Thanks for your help.

    damarislidaywa said: I will. Try. That

    elmah said: its wow

    Erik Dam-Madsen said: excellent Recipt, I have started using it and all my guests like it and always they ask for more

    nacy said: love

    bridget said: i love chapati

    grace said: i like cooking chapos but i need more experience from.

    purplenight said: Could you please say how much of water you used. For example 2 cups or 500 ml etc. Asante sana from Toronto Canada.

    brenda said: I am from Kenya and chapati is like the main food in parties that has to be included. It is very delicious.

    Mimi said: Authentic chapati is far from tortillas…much closer to Paratha indian bread…

    esta said: This is where I got the courage to do my first chapati experiment! Kudos guys!

    Anonymous said: Actually delicious

    Anonymous said: I eat these all of the time. In America and Mexico they are called tortillas (tor-tee-yaz)

    stephanie said: only 4!i need almost16

    Linda Aruwa said: Thanks for the insight. You could also add a bit of sugar and butter nuts to your ingredients. Its very tasty and appetizing

    mwende said: if ever you hated chapati know its NOT MADE by a pro

    Elly said: It is good. The chapati tests wow I really miss it Coz am not in Kenya now but in Ghana.

    Montez said: Its great food,thanx 4 the recipe

    Anonymous said: this recipe would be complete if the amount of water and oil in ratio to flour are stated.

    Anonymous said: It would not hurt any Mswahili when mentioned that chapatis originate from India, a must in every decent indian home and came to East Africa with the Indians in the late 1890s when they were recruited by the british to build the ‘UGANDA’ Railway line starting from Msa.
    Therefore, chapati is not only food & utensil but also a mirror which reflects the history of East Africa – Kenya uptodate.

    Bill said: I learned how to make chapatis (as well as maharaghwe, ghitheri, ugali, and sukuma wiki) during my homestay while in the Peace Corps in Kenya. Since returning to the states, I’ve had trouble reproducing them using stateside ingredients. The secret to good chapatis, I’ve found, is to use the right flour, to wit, chapati flour from an Indian grocery. I’m still trying to find a good source of corn meal for my sima (the stuff in the states sucks – probably GMO).


    Anonymous said: tamu sana

    Philip said: Great recipe u doin a great job All Things Kenyan indeed

    allen mujinga masompe said: I love chapati very much and miss them as i am no longer in Kenya i am now in Congo.
    Let us eat the good food.

    Learner said: Pictures please for every step.

    Julie said: I first had chapatis when I was in Kenya with my photography class in Jan-Feb 2012, and I absolutely loved it! My boyfriend made it once and he made it look sooo easy, and seeing as I am not a good cook at all, I figured I’d try it. This and rice is something I can actually make! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I used a little more oil mixed in with the flour and salt, though.

    Sincere said: I love love love it

    fern said: i like the thin texture but I’m not sure it was somthing I like to eat

    Anonymous said: Matt, it said mix dry ingredients, meaning salt included. Hope I helped!

    All Things Kenyan (mod) said: In the first step of the recipe it says,’Mix dry ingredients well.’ That means the flour and salt are mixed together.

    The amount of water depends on the weather. In bread making the amount of water varies a little bit each time you make bread. You add a little bit of water and mix it in. Keep adding a little bit of water and mixing it in until you get a soft dough. If the day is humid you will need less water than on a dry day.

    Matt said: You didn’t say what to do with the salt… It goes in the water right? So there must be a specific amount of water that is recommended.

    All Things Kenyan (mod) said: This is one of my daughter’s favorite recipes. I’m glad you enjoy it, too!

    Anonymous said: We were first given this recipe from a family who we knew from Africa…it will forever be a favorite, and it’s so simple.

  3. Pingback: Beans and Rice Recipe – All Things Kenyan

  4. Pingback: Curried Mung Beans Recipe – All Things Kenyan

  5. Pingback: Green Gram Soup Recipe – All Things Kenyan

  6. Pingback: Spiced Kidney Beans Recipe – All Things Kenyan